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Two-thirds of households have high front hedges putting their homes at increased risk of burglary warns Crimestoppers

When you’re planning on leaving your home to go on holiday most people think about locking their doors, windows and setting alarms.

A poll of 1,000 UK households with garden hedges, commissioned by John Lewis Home Insurance reveals a widespread lack of awareness of the importance of hedges in keeping our homes secure.

Over two thirds (67%) of those surveyed admitted that their front hedge exceeds the one metre height recommended by the police and charity Crimestoppers. Nearly one third keep their hedge at double the recommended height, or even higher.

Rear garden hedges can also help protect homes but the police advice for them is the opposite of front hedges. You should keep them over 1.8 metres to make it hard for thieves to climb up and over them, yet nearly half of households (48%) surveyed said their rear hedge is 1.5 metres, or lower.

John Blackstaff, Plant Nursery Manager at the John Lewis Partnership’s Leckford Estate provides the following tips on choosing the perfect security hedge:

“There are a number of hedge species that make great security hedges without compromising the appearance of your garden. I recommend Pyracantha, (firethorn), which is evergreen, vigorous and thorny, as its name suggests. It has white blossom, which is very attractive to bees and other insects, followed by berries in autumn in shades of red, yellow and orange which birds enjoy.

“A Holly bush(Ilex aquifolium), is also a good traditional evergreen species, whose prickly leaves will ward off intruders. It comes in a wide range of varieties with green or variegated foliage and berries in autumn and winter.”

James Barwell, Head of John Lewis Home Insurance said; As people prepare to go away this summer they’ll be thinking about how they can keep their homes secure.  Our survey found a lack of awareness of the importance of hedge height and confusion about whether hedges should be high or low to deter burglars.  Over half (55%) of households think their front hedge should be over 1.8metres or don’t know what height it should be, and a similar number (54%) think their back hedge should be below 1.8metres, or don’t know what height it should be to help protect their home.”

“During the lockdown many people bought more items for their homes and gardens as they became the place where we did everything – working, entertaining, sleeping and eating. We saw sales of tech  fire pits, garden furniture and  pizza ovens rise, so it’s really important to keep these items safe, so we can keep enjoying them.”

Mick Duthie, Director of Operations at the charity Crimestoppers said; “In these difficult financial times, protecting yourself as much as possible from crime is always wise, especially from the harm caused by burglary which can have a devastating impact.  We therefore strongly urge people to look at their garden hedges this summer and if needed cut them to help cut crime.

“It’s not just the height of your hedge which can put off burglars. We recommend keeping all hedges thick, prickly and dense to further deter intruders.  This is particularly effective for back hedges, as a robust hedge can block the escape of thieves who attempt to exit via the back garden.”

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